Industry Expert Recommends Leather Use as a Solution to Ocean Pollution

30 October 2023

In response to the World Economic Forum's (WEF) social media inquiry about addressing ocean pollution, Dr. Dietrich Tegtmeyer, a prominent industry commentator, proposed an unconventional solution: the increased utilization of leather in various products. This question from WEF was part of their recognition of the efforts of The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing technological solutions for plastic waste removal from the world's oceans.

The primary objective of The Ocean Cleanup is to eliminate 90% of ocean debris by the year 2040. According to their estimates, plastic constitutes a staggering 80% of the total waste found in our oceans, with an annual influx of 14 million tonnes of plastic into the world's waters.

The organization's current technology involves deploying a skimming device, which is extended between two vessels. In a recent operation conducted in the North Pacific, this skimming device successfully gathered 11 tonnes of plastic waste in just one week. Subsequently, the collected plastic was transported to British Columbia in Canada for sorting and recycling.

Building upon the insights gained from this successful approach, The Ocean Cleanup is preparing to launch an even larger skimming device, three times the size of the current one. It was during the celebration of this development that WEF reached out to social media users for their suggestions.

Dr. Dietrich Tegtmeyer, serving as the global head of business development and industry relations at TFL, a leading manufacturer of leather chemicals, pointed out a remarkable observation. He highlighted that the 11 tonnes of waste collected by The Ocean Cleanup during their recent North Pacific mission did not contain any traces of leather.

Dr. Tegtmeyer explained, "There were 11 tonnes of trash, and not a single gram of leather." He attributed this absence of leather in the collected waste to the likelihood that any leather present in the waste streams would have biodegraded during its journey to the ocean.

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